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I've recently been trying to clear up Category:The Doctor's allies and Category:The Doctor's enemies. Mini-mitch also made me aware of this discussion concerning companions.

So, what makes an enemy and what makes an ally?

We have categories full of subcategories for both; Allies and Enemies.

The definition I came up with that I put on the Category:The Doctor's allies category page is:

To be added to these sub-categories the individual needs to have made a decision to become an ally to the Doctor's cause or to assist him in some major way.

I toyed with adding "the individual must have free will", after finding objects like the Anne Droid in the Ninth Doctor's category.

People who aren't the Doctor's allies are people he happens to meet along the way and who render assistance like Edith in The Time Meddler, she gives him food, but that's not exactly becoming an ally.

I think if you're an ally to the Doctor it's like joining his cause or his mission, you become entangled in his adventure.

What makes an enemy is a little trickier to define.

In my mind the individual needs to have come into conflict with the Doctor or sought to cause him harm, and it has to be him not his companions, because that's what the categories are called (and we've got all the various people in the Category:Enemies).

An example of someone I think is not an enemy of the Doctor is Senior Guard in Day of the Daleks, he's the one who informs on the Controller to the Daleks. His actions, may have been influenced by the Doctor being in the room, but his target was the Controller. There is no direct conflict between the Guard and the Doctor.

I don't think species can be enemies of the Doctor, unless it's explicitly stated. For example the Monoids aren't an enemy of the First Doctor, because it wasn't the whole species warring against him it was less than half a dozen of them. But the Daleks are, because it's been explicitly stated and demonstrated.

I do think we need to come up with some clear definitions of both to prevent mis-categorisation of articles into either category. --Tangerineduel / talk 13:24, January 31, 2012 (UTC)

As a matter of practicality, companions are not allies. It creates far too much recursion in the category tree to have a structure like:
category:First Doctor allies
category:First Doctor companions
Consequently, I've completely divorced "companions" from "allies" in the category tree as a part of the current round of tedious application o {{NameSort}}.
czechout   03:12: Wed 01 Feb 2012 
An ally is someone who directly helps the Doctor in a major way throughout his adventures. I would say that Canton Delaware is an ally of the Eleventh Doctor because of the help he provided through his search for the Silence. However, the Clerics from his adventures with the Weeping Angels are not his allies. They may work with them, but not enough to help the Doctor in his side of the adventures.
An enemy to me is simply enough: It an person/thing/organisation that is either a direct threat to the Doctor, tries to prevent the Doctor from reaching his objective or tries to harm the Doctor in anyway. They are not the X Doctor enemies if they only try do one on the above to their companions.
I think a course of action we could take is to remove everything from X Doctor Allies and X Doctor Enemies and work through each Doctor and saying who we think they are their allies and enemies - and why. MM/Want to talk? 14:11, February 1, 2012 (UTC)

I am offering a bit of a preamble to my thoughts on this subject. I apologize to anyone who feels I am wandering off the point or that I am harping on these issues everyplace, but they are, I feel, rather basic to the writing in this wiki. The same question arises in the related thread about three hundred seventeen too many characters being listed as companions. There is a tendency to multiply classifications, as if they are awards for good behavior, and a long string of them a mark of excellence. Continued indefinitely it becomes idiotic. I think we need to pull back well before that point (if we haven't already), delist a few people as companions, get rid of a few classes -- I noticed today that someone added a new one "Trojan Royalty" that strikes me as useless, since it's six related people in one story in which most of the episodes are missing.

The efforts in this thread to adequately define an ally or enemy strikes me as both worthwhile -- it's always good to know what your terms actually mean -- and ridiculously precious. What does "ally" mean hear but someone who doesn't rise to the rank of a companion of the doctor for whatever reason or prejudice we care to apply? It's like being awarded a medal second class or with oak leaf clusters or whatever distinction some authority chooses to make between people in order that everyone can feel appreciated and unique. Nonetheless, that's what it means "Order of the Companion, Second Class." Given the typical proliferation of ranks in a class-ridden society, this will undoubtedly strike some as distinctions that are important. I find it ridiculous. Boblipton talk to me 00:34, February 2, 2012 (UTC)

ok, i think that to be either an ally or an enemy, the person/object must have free will. the android shouldn't be classified as an ally in my opinion because it had no mind of it's own and was controlled by a computer program of sorts that meant it could be used for or against the doctor. it would be like calling a gun an ally or an enemy.

i also think the person/object must be purposefully trying to go for or against the doctor to count. if a character, for example, did something that hindered the doctor but didn't do it to harm the doctor, it was just an accident or mistake, then that character shouldn't be considered an enemy.

so basically, an ally should be a person who willingly helps the doctor (who is not also a companion) and an enemy is someone who purposefully hinders the doctor. also, in the case of the clerics, they aren't allies as they weren't willingly helping the doctor, they were following orders to help him, meaning they don't count. Imamadmad talk to me 05:59, February 2, 2012 (UTC)

Are you saying then, that the Raston Warrior Robot is not an enemy of the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth or Eighth Doctors? I would argue that it is, despit its lack of mind.
One of the big questions that comes up is that of Multi-Doctor stories. Is Sarah Jane Smith a first Doctor ally because of The Five Doctors? Or do the two chareactors have to communicate or something? OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 07:03, February 2, 2012 (UTC)
The first rule of category creation is that the categories must be clear and unassailable. Any category about companions is going to violate this rule, but we have to live with that. It's a part of the very fabric of fandom that people disagree over who was or wasn't a companion. Beyond this and a few other "fan favourite" kinda things, we should take a very firm stance against introducing speculation in category names. It's not a great practice to use a category to say what an article couldn't. And nothing would be quite such a lightning rod for potential edit wars as "List of the Doctor's enemies", or "List of the Doctor's friends".
Indeed, both the allies and enemies range of categories start a whole new fight which can never be resolved. Trying to find the exact line when stops being a mere adversary and becomes an enemy is a fool's errand. Harder still is trying to delineate between someone who's simply not opposed to the Doctor, someone who likes the Doctor but does nothing to help him, someone who threatens the companion but not the Doctor, someone who opposes the Doctor (but later repents), and, say, the Master himself. There's more than enough anecdotal evidence given here, and at the excellent Enemies thread to demonstrate the unsoundness of these categories.
I therefore find myself only somewhat agreeing with user:Mini-mitch. Yes, they should be emptied of their contents. But they should then be deleted and never be restarted.
czechout   18:13: Sat 04 Feb 2012 
Well, I frankly don't see that much a problem with the categories, I think that they're a very useful group of categories that helps one identify who someone has encountered. I think deleting it would be going too far. May I also note that Category:Fourth Doctor enemies is involved in the Game of Rassilon? OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 20:09, February 4, 2012 (UTC)
there will always be edit wars on a wiki. i don't think we should delete a whole category because it might start one. we just need some stricter guidelines as to what counts as a friend or an enemy so we can hopefully prevent wars from happening by making the definitions more clear. this is why Tangerineduel started this discussion anyway.
it's easy to tell if someone is "simply not opposed to the doctor". they neither help nor hinder him or doing what they're doing because they are getting paid for it eg an inn keeper who is housing the doctor just as they would house anyone else in return for money. things like "someone who likes the doctor but does nothing to help" and "someone who threatens the companion but not the doctor" are harder to classify as either an ally or an enemy or nothing, but that's what this discussion is here for. personally, i think no and no for those two categories as neither directly helps nor hinders the doctor himself. also, "someone who opposes the doctor but later repents" could potentially fit in both the ally and enemy category, as long as it states in their article why they are in both (an explanation of why they went good after being bad). Imamadmad talk to me 21:37, February 4, 2012 (UTC)
Well, the fact that a category is currently involved in the Game of Rassilon is irrelevant to the discussion. No editing track will survive forever. Though none have been closed to date, almost every editing track will eventually be closed in favor of new ones. This will give older editors some badges which are no longer attainable, thus encouraging people to edit in the new categories more quickly. Put another way, category:Fourth Doctor enemies is only hanging on by a single, easily-removed tick mark.
And you can't get stricter guidelines on the meaning of a simple noun. "Enemy" and "ally" have multiple connotations. Different people will assess them differently. You can't really have two nouns that are much more vague. They're just unsuitable for category names. You've mentioned that these categories are "useful", though. So amplify that point please. How are they useful? Far as I can see, they're just making maintenance of the wiki take much longer without adding any solid facts to the wiki. Remember: categories have a responsibility to be accurate, just as much as the articles themselves.
czechout   09:24: Sun 05 Feb 2012 
I agree with User:CzechOut in saying that the Game of Rassilon is not a reason to keep a category, as we will, in time get new ones and old ones will be turned of.
I disagree with the deletion of the categories. To me, it does help in understanding multiply characters better. It can allow a read to see if a character is either good or evil, and will allow them to find different characters that also helped the Doctor. It also provides a list of people who are similar in the way the that they helped or opposed the Doctor, and that is something that should be presented to the wiki because it it fundamental to the Doctor and to the Characters.
It will also allow people to discover, possibly, new stories. Think of a person who only watches the TV shows, they go onto the page and see one of the Doctor's companions under another Doctor's allies. They might go and search for this story (since the biio sections of character mainly concentrate on TV show stuff) and when they find it might find they want to buy it because it one of their favourite companions helping out another Doctor.
We should not delete the categories just because there might be an edit war that won't be resolved. This is currently and will always happen to the companion categories. People have different views on who's a companion, but we're not deleting that category - which is not different to this one.
All we really need to do is get a strong definition on what ally and enemy mean. I believe that is something we can achieve. MM/Want to talk? 12:27, February 5, 2012 (UTC)
Every instinct in my body tells me you're wrong. Let's imagine you could define "enemy" in a way that everyone agreed. You can't, but let's imagine it. You'd then be trusting on people to read the category write-up before they started to apply the category. And, in my experience of tediously sorting through categories, most people don't read the category page at all. They read the category name — if you're lucky. So all we have to do is wait until someone who hasn't been a party to this conversation to start using the category. And before you know it, someone will have to come back and clean it up to the standards established in the category text. And that will be a pain, even with a bot. You're talking thousands of pages. Which can only be cleaned by going through them one-by-one.
See, the problem here is that it won't even occur to people that they don't understand what an "enemy" or an "ally" is. So why should they read the category notes? Or even think that there might be a forum discussion about it? We're already having to regularly patrol the companion categories. Do we really want to rigidly define 55+ categories and then patrol them on a regular basis? I know I don't.
We should absolutely "delete categories because there's an edit war that won't be resolved". As admin, we have to examine situations, and perform cost/benefit analyses. Is it better have lingering fights about labels that can never be proved, or just to remove the label and concentrate on something else? To me, that's a no-brainer. You remove the temptation for a fight, prevent category creation, and then let people find something useful to do with their editing time.
I know you think there's something of value in this category, but there's just far, far too much grey here:
  • Is Henry van Statten an enemy or an ally? Seriously, think about it. He obstructed the Doctor's path for a bit, but when push came to shove, he did give the Doctor control over his computers. He did try to help Rose.
  • You've used the terms "good" and "evil", but is the Rani really evil? Or just amoral. For that matter, is the Master really the Doctor's enemy? The Tenth Doctor sincerely offered him a chance to become a companion. And when the crap hit the fan, he saved the Doctor's life.
  • John Stevenson is currently listed as a Fourth Doctor ally, apparently on the strength of the fact that he briefly helps the Doctor. But let's not forget, it's he who activates the first Krynoid pod. And he ultimately gives the other pod to Scorby. Would the Doctor actually think of him as an ally, or just an incredibly stupid human who had no idea what he was doing? If it were the Ninth Doctor instead of the Fourth, somehow I think there'd have been a bit more chastisement. Even from a behind the scenes perspective, it's hard to think of Stevenson as an "ally". He's just a guy that's there for a few minutes to serve the Doctor a few lines. He's not like Jackie Tyler, someone who took him in after a regeneration and was willing to fiercely protect the Doctor from Elton's investigations in Love & Monsters.
    czechout   23:06: Sun 05 Feb 2012 
  • Kelsey Hooper is listed as a SJS ally, but is she? Really? She's basically a plot device, used to serve up information on what happens when you ingest Bubble Shock! She spends most of her time in the SJA attic raggin' on K9 and generally not being all that interested. Then she's described as having run screaming from the SJS lifestyle. How's that an ally? It's basically insulting to put her in the same category as Alan Jackson or even Gita Chandra, for example.
  • Then you've got cases where people use the category to add information to an article — without actually adding the information to the article. So someone like Jenny Winterleaf is described as a Dalek enemy, but the article doesn't tell us how that's possible. Given that her listed appearances are in the IW franchise, and not DW proper, I gotta wonder how that's even possible. How can she be a Dalek enemy, since the IW franchise has never had access to Terry Nation material, as far as I'm aware.
  • Finally, you've got cases where people have seemingly not even watched the stories in question. The classic example must be K1, who is listed as a Fourth Doctor enemy. He's patently not an enemy. That's the whole point of the narrative! Yes, he must be put down. But it's with great regret, especially on the part of Sarah Jane. He's an obvious allegory for King Kong.
  • Equally, those in Category:Celestial Toyroom individuals have made their way into First Doctor enemies. And they're not. They are quite explicitly extensions of the Celestial Toymaker's own mind. They are different facets of him, not individuals in their own right. The First Doctor's enemy in the story is the Celestial Toymaker, full stop. In the second place, if they're allowed in, then anyone who threatens a companion is in. They have very little, if any, direct contact with the Doctor.
I could go on, but seriously, a hell of a lot of the content of all these categories is debatable. I mean, maybe the Dalek and Cybermen enemy categories are fairly certain, but the enemies and allies of the Doctor? That's super-debatable. And we will never, ever come to a conclusion on which everyone can agree.
These categories are not providing useful, reliable, accurate information. They're enforcing someone's opinion about whether a character is an enemy or an ally. Often, those opinions cannot be supported by a careful reading of the text of the episode/story.
Worse, from a practical, administrative standpoint, they add about two hours to any simple bot maintenance run, because the bot is forced to check on pages that have already been checked by going through other categories. As far as I'm aware, no character is solely defined by any of these categories, meaning that all these categories are entirely superfluous.
So if they're not adding solid information, but instead they're just adding to maintenance time of the wiki, I strongly think we should just get rid of them.
czechout   23:06: Sun 05 Feb 2012 
So the choices seem to be
  • keep things as they are and clean up any mistakes
  • make rigid definitions, post them, and clean up any mistakes from those who don't read them
  • delete the categories
The third choice has my vote, based on Czechout's arguments above.Shambala108 talk to me 00:58, February 6, 2012 (UTC)
I lean <much> more towards choice #1. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 01:09, February 6, 2012 (UTC)

Delete them. They're causing much more trouble than they're worth. Tardis1963 talk 03:04, February 6, 2012 (UTC)

option 2. i do believe we could come to some sort of conclusion for the majority of cases and have separate discussions for the unusual ones, and if there are proper definitions there, people are a lot less likely to put in characters who don't belong, therefore minimising clean-up time (i don't know anything about bots but for humans doing it manually it would) without deleting the categories themselves which could be useful to some people; that's why they're there in the first place. Imamadmad talk to me 05:22, February 6, 2012 (UTC)
CzechOut's reasoned and detailed argument highlights the problem I encountered in trying to define an ally and and enemy.
I don't think a reading of whether a character is "good" or "evil" is useful, on this wiki there are no "good" or "evil" individuals, they just are people/species etc. Philosophers have spent hundreds of years musing on the nature of good and evil, and it's something we are not going to be able to define within the confines of the DW universe.
Enemy is still a very vague term because we're still not really defining what an enemy is and to whom.
Very few of the people the Doctor meets he calls an enemy, and vice versa, the Daleks are probably the most vocal about it.
Finally, good and evil, or enemy and ally are really hard to define concepts and do require a careful reading of the text, and can be misread depending on your point of view. I don't think rigid definitions exist for such vague and point of view dependent definitions of concepts like "good", "evil" and "enemy" and "ally". In most cases if involves making a judgement based on the character's morals and choices.
Based on all this, I favour deletion, as I think people will always have opinions that 'character X' is an ally or an enemy and will want to categorise them based on an opinion. I don't think we can agree on a definition, I think any point that could be made in the categories is better made on the article, where there is far more room to actually define with sources what you're talking about. --Tangerineduel / talk 15:21, February 6, 2012 (UTC)
while i agree that one can't define good or evil (it's a matter of perspective), i do believe we could put down a guideline. can you at least consider this idea of a definition and tell me where it might go wrong as a classification for the majority of cases (there will always be special cases for almost all categories which would need to be thought about individually, but hopefully there won't be too many.
ok, so my definition of an ally is someone who willingly helps the doctor to either reach his goal or to keep him alive. this does not include people helping the doctor for their own gain eg people working in a restaurant feeding the doctor + companions for money or people following orders eg the clerics in time of angels/flesh and stone would not be considered allies because they are helping the doctor by following orders (therefore not of their own free will) but father octavian, who gave those orders, would.
an enemy would be someone who willingly hinders the doctor from reaching his goal or tries to do him harm. yet again, this does not apply to people following orders because they aren't doing it willingly or, like in the case of an assassin, doing it because someone paid them to.
someone who starts as one but then switches to the other may be put in both categories as long as it says on the article the things that the person did to be in those categories.
please tell me what faults are in these definitions and consider and expand on them. i believe we can figure something out if we try. i do believe there must be some way of defining an ally or an enemy, even if you don't agree with my way. so instead of just saying "delete it", can someone else try and think of a way of defining them as well? if we eventually find we can't, then deletion might be a good idea. but i think we should try first. Imamadmad talk to me 05:35, February 7, 2012 (UTC)

Different people may disagree with your definitions though. Besides, based on your definition of an enemy, no Dalek could possibly be considered an enemy of the Doctor's because they are incapable of doing anything but following orders. K9 also couldn't be considered an ally, let alone a companion, because the only reason that he assists the Doctor is because that is what he was programmed to do. Similarly, Sergeant Benton and Captain Yates assisted the Doctor because they were ordered to do so, but most people would consider them to be allies of the Doctor. We should definetly delete the allies category, and we should probably delete the enemies category. If we keep the enemies category, then it should just list the main villain of a particular story. However, since even that can be relatively subjective, I would recommend just deleting the category. Icecreamdif talk to me 06:01, February 7, 2012 (UTC)

"An enemy would be someone who willingly hinders the Doctor from reaching his goal." Okay, so that makes Adam Mitchell, the Brigadier and Harriet Jones enemies. Which I just don't accept. They did things contrary to the Doctor's wishes, but are they enemies? Put simply, the Doctor isn't always right. Hell, according to this definition, even Jo Grant is an enemy, because she ruined the Doctor's experiment the first time she walked into the lab. And, for a time in The Time Warrior, Sarah Jane Smith is on the opposite side of the Doctor. And Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton weren't exactly on the Doctor's side for at least three serials. Is trying to prevent the Doctor from going to the Dalek city "hindering the Doctor from reaching his goal"? I think it might very well be. Or at least it can be successfully argued that it is. Which means someone might use the definition in an altogether awkward way.
Your definition of ally — "someone who helps the Doctor reach his goal or stay alive" — is equally fraught with difficulty. Immediately, you'd have to put the John Simm Master into the category. And I doubt most people who edit here would understand that. You've also then got people who opposed companions, but not really the Doctor, like Algernon Ffinch and Ixta and even Nero. Equally, there are beings who briefly threatened the Doctor but not the companions, like Bishop, Henry van Statten and the like.
In the main, though, the problem isn't that we couldn't come up with a definition. As I've said upthread, let's just grant the hypothetical creation of an agreed definition. My thing is that people just won't read it. A year from now, when this conversation is buried in the archives, we'll get a new wave of editors who will just bypass the category page and start applying the categories as they see fit. And everything we've hashed out will go to the dogs.
Now, of course, there are some categories which I will defend and patrol. There are times when I go through the various pages in a category and make them adhere to the definition on the category page. I'm constantly restructuring, tweaking, and populating categories. And even if people have gone astray of the categorical intent, I'll nudge things back into shape. But other categories are worth defending. These aren't. These give us nothing in the way of truly meaningful information.
The truth of the matter is, and no one's said it yet. they're out of universe. They're our assessment, as an audience, of the moral code of characters. That makes the categories a) subjective and b) wholly irrelevant. Categories applied to in-universe pages should themselves be in-universe as much as possible. These are by far the most prominent exception to the rule on the wiki, and there's no particular reason for the exception.
czechout   14:09: Tue 07 Feb 2012 


Though this is somewhat of a close call in terms of the number of people on each side, the arguments for destroying this category are simply stronger than the ones for keeping them.

While I quite appreciate that some users strongly feel these categories should still exist, supporters of these categories base their arguments on a false premise. They insist that ally and enemy can be defined in a way that everyone will agree upon, both now and, most importantly, years in the future.

And this just ain't gonna happen.

Beyond that, no one has put forward a satisfying argument on why the additional workload of maintaining these categories makes sense. Just to provide another example, the page Dalek, will be touched over 20 separate times by the bot trying to perform basic maintenance of the category, Individuals by association. At ten seconds a page, that's worth almost a full 4 minutes of entirely wasted time. When you consider the other pages that are hit multiple times — Cyberman, Sontaran, Ice Warrior, Zygon, and the rest — you're talking actual hours of totally wasted time. Sure, there's always going to be some degree of overlap in the category tree that makes the bot do superfluous work. And that's fine — when the categories are clearly defined. In this instance though, it's a profound amount of extra work for no good reason.

Thus, I'm ruling whatever nominal benefits these categories might offer users is actually outbalanced by the administrative need to a) have category nams that don't inspire questions (like, "What does it mean to be an "ally"?); and b) reduce wiki maintenance time where possible.

These categories have therefore now all been stripped from the wiki. All instances of their use have been eradicated. Additionally, their re-creation has been blocked.
czechout   16:53: Tue 14 Feb 2012 

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